Seasonic (opens in new tab) (via HXL (opens in new tab)) has teased a sample of the brand’s upcoming 90-degree 16-pin power connector for Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 40-series graphics cards. The design will plausibly mitigate the meltdown issues with standard 16-pin power adapters on the GeForce RTX 4090.
So far, there have been three user reports of the 16-pin power adapters melting. Admittedly, it’s a small number compared to the number of GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards Nvidia has sold. So there still may be affected users out there that haven’t come forward. However, it’s a severe problem since the issue can potentially provoke a fire hazard, so Nvidia has wasted no time investigating the situation.
Due to the thickness of the GeForce RTX 4090, consumers are likely having problems installing the flagship Ada graphics cards inside cases that don’t have the luxury of space. It’s not unreasonable to think that some users may have to bend the cable for the 16-power adapter more than they should to close the case’s side panel.
Like any power cable, bending the 16-pin adapter’s cable immoderately, whether vertically or horizontally, can cause the terminal to come loose and mess up the integrity of the mating. As a result, the load becomes unbalanced over the remaining terminals, which increases the risk of overheating and melting the connector. Cablemod, a popular custom cable vendor, recommends at least 35mm of space from the 16-pin power connector before bending the cable. However, we’ve seen user feedback that the problem persists even at longer distances, for example, 40mm.
Seasonic isn’t the only one with a workaround. Cablemod has announced the brand’s custom right-angle 16-pin power adapter, which uses a multiple PCB design and promises zero bending. While the adapter sells on October 31, the pricing is unknown. Seasonic’s 90-degree connector doesn’t look as pretty as Cablemod’s adapter, but it should work similarly. Unfortunately, we can’t see the other end of the cable, so we’re unsure if Seasonic’s product is an adapter or a special cable designed to connect directly to the brand’s power supplies. The connector from the photograph is a sample, and Seasonic didn’t reveal the launch date or pricing.
While right-angle adapters can reduce cable bending, owners aren’t out of the danger zone yet. Remember that the 12VHPWR power connector has a service life of 30 connection cycles. PCI-SIG detected the same mating issues around 40 cycles.
Up to now, we’ve only seen complaints from consumers using the bundle 4×8-pin to 1×16-pin power adapter. ATX 3.0 power supply owners seem unaffected. These power supplies already come with the 12VHPWR connector, so adapters aren’t needed. On the flip side, there aren’t many ATX 3.0 units on the market, and they are expensive.
It’s weird that the problem with the power adapter never showed up in Nvidia’s testing. We’ve checked the GeForce RTX 4090’s documentation and online user manuals, and there are no instructions or guidelines on manipulating the 16-pin power connector or its cable. So Nvidia honestly didn’t know about the issue. However, the chipmaker does warn against using third-party adapters, such as the Cablemod and the upcoming Seasonic one, which will void your warranty.